Tokyo – Sumitomo Chemical is studying the feasibility of linking propane dehydrogenation (PDH) technology, for converting propane into propylene, to the synthesis of methanol – using PDH by-products hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2).
This project at the company’s petrochemical complex in Singapore, could offer a commercially attractive and more sustainable alternative to conventional production routes, said a company statement issued 24 Dec 2020.
Olefinic monomers such as ethylene and propylene are mainly manufactured through naphtha cracking. Recently, however, the number of ethane cracking facilities that use shale gas-derived ethane as their raw material has been on the rise.
Since ethane cracking produces less co-products besides ethylene, compared to naphtha cracking, the increase in ethane cracking is fuelling concerns over a relative shortage of propylene, explained Sumitomo Chemical.
PDH technology, it said, could provide a possible solution to the shortage of propylene, while the effective use of CO2 would provide emissions-reduction benefits.
Sumitomo Chemical is, therefore, undertaking a joint research project with Shimane University to synthesize methanol from CO2 in a highly efficient manner, using by-products from the PDH process.
“A technology to efficiently synthesize methanol using CO2 and hydrogen will be a new breakthrough that can meet product demand and improve the economics of the petrochemical complex,” the company stated.